Council reviews support for BP

A PORT Lincoln councillor wants the council to review its support for BP’s proposed exploration drilling program in the Great Australian Bight.

Councillor Andrea Broadfoot will move a motion at the next council meeting for the council to review its support based on the cumulative impacts from multiple risk sources and BP's ability to address these risks.

She said the council’s decision should take into account up to date feedback from key stakeholders including the aquaculture and wildcatch sectors and confirm the council’s primary priority that BP addresses the potential for adverse impacts on existing businesses, the region’s clean green reputation, and the risk to the environment, and the broader community.

The council passed a motion in February last year supporting BP’s land-based activities associated with the proposed exploration drilling phase and calling for the company to maximise opportunities for local businesses and employment, address any potential risks and establish an ongoing consultation program with stakeholders and the wider community.

Since then the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has rejected two environmental plans submitted by BP and the company has changed its proposal from four drilling sites to two.

Ms Broadfoot raised the issue at this week’s council meeting after speaking to a number of industry peak bodies and local businesses that had concerns about BP’s exploration plans in the Bight.

She said the South Australian Oyster Growers Association had also written to the council in July withdrawing its support for the project and criticising the level of consultation and information provided by BP.

Ms Broadfoot was also concerned about the number of boats available in Port Lincoln to participate in a clean-up in the case of a spill.

“More than 6500 boats were required for the clean-up (in the the Gulf of Mexico).

“We have 100 and only 15 surveyed for that area offshore.”

Ms Broadfoot tried to move the motion as urgent business at this week’s meeting but mayor Bruce Green did not accept it and said raising it at the next meeting would still allow time for the council to forward any updated position to the senate inquiry into oil and gas production in the Bight before submissions closed on October 17.

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